Limitation – make sure you are in time

21 Oct 2019

When you have suffered an injury you have a certain period of time within which to bring a claim. Lawyers call this the limitation period.

Commonly , you have three years to issue court proceedings following an accident.

In clinical negligence and/or disease cases you have three years from the date on which you know, or should know, that you have suffered injury as a result of the matter that you are complaining about. This is called your date of knowledge.

This general rule is modified in certain circumstances, including the following:

  1. If you are a minor child, under the age of 18, time starts running on your eighteenth birthday;
  2. If you die within three years of your date of knowledge, your estate and/or family have three years from your date of death to issue court proceedings;
  3. In cases involving accidents at sea, or in the air, the three year limit is shortened to two years;
  4. Claims for compensation under statutory schemes have their own limitation periods. For example, claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme have to be made within two years of the relevant criminal incident; and
  5. Countries outside the UK have their own limitation periods.

Whilst the court has discretion to allow the commencement of court proceedings outside the time limits set out above, it is generally very hard to persuade judges to exercise that discretion. If your case is out of time, and permission is not granted for you to continue, the consequences are serious; you cannot then carry on with your case, and you will not recover compensation for your injuries.

You need capable lawyers to help you with these issues. We start every case by providing advice that is expert and clear, practical as well as personal. We always look at limitation carefully and will do our best to get every case up and running.

Every year, our personal injury lawyers recover over £10 million in compensation for serious accidents such as head and spinal injuries, accidents at work, road traffic accidents, industrial diseases and clinical negligence. Whatever you are up against, we will first understand it – then apply all our expertise to get you the right outcome.


James Gleisner

Chartered Legal Executive